School banks on no-homework policy, longer school day to fight underperformance

- A Massachusetts school is saying "No homework" to students as they are returning to classes, but it’s not being done entirely to create extra time for after-school fun in the last few days of summer – it’s part of a bid to turn around less-than-stellar performance.

“At my school, it was like ‘go big or go home,’” said Jacqueline Glasheen, the principal of Kelly Full Service Community School in Holyoke. “We have to do something different.” The kindergarten through eighth grade school in western Massachusetts is part of a public district that went into receivership in April 2015 after the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education labeled it chronically underperforming.

“My school in particular has made slight gains, but my kids are well below the proficiency line,” Glasheen told FoxNews.com. Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester said last year that only one in three children in Holyoke public schools are reading at grade level, while Glasheen noted that 98 percent of the student body is enrolled in a free or assisted lunch program.

“We are doing this not because we don’t think kids need homework, but because we think we are giving kids very rigorous instruction for eight hours,” Glasheen told FoxNews.com. “We want them to hang out with families, have dinner, do extracurricular activities and go to bed.”

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